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Medical cousin to come up in steel town

Durgapur, April 4: A medical city will spring up in what is now known as a steel township.

The medical hub in Durgapur, about 200 km from Calcutta, would be spread across 100 acres and will be equipped with the latest facilities.

The medical city, a first of its kind in Bengal, will include a full-fledged private medical college and hospital, a dental hospital, a cancer research centre, an eye hospital, a neuro-therapy centre, advanced pathological clinics and a homeopathy college.

Some of the top healthcare houses like Tata Memorial Cancer Research Centre, Apollo Hospitals and Shankara Netralaya will be invited to set up facilities there.

Narayan Swarup Nigam, the additional Burdwan district magistrate and chief executive officer of Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority, today unwrapped the government's plans regarding the health hub for The Telegraph. 'This is a dream project. We have decided to set up the medical hub keeping an eye to the rapid growth of industry and urbanisation in the region,' he said.

The CEO revealed the plan to invite reputed hospitals to set up units here. 'After developing the land, we will also invite reputed pathological clinics and medicine shop chains and request private entrepreneurs to set up the medical college along with a 500-bed general hospital.'

Nigam said 100 acres belonging to the Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) have already been identified for the project. 'We had approached the DSP as we did not have any land of our own for such a project. The DSP has written to us offering the land. We will invest Rs 1 crore to buy the 100-acre plot.'

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said in Calcutta the government's policy is to privatise healthcare in the districts.

Officials of the development authority said the administration would spend about Rs 5 crore on basic infrastructure like roads, water supply, drainage and power.

The decision to set up the medical city was finalised last week at a meeting of the authority's board, chaired by the minister for cottage and small-scale industries, Bansagopal Chowdhury.

After years of slump, the steel town has been witnessing an upswing of industrial activity. Steel prices have rocketed and new industries have shown interest in the township. At least three new-age housing complexes are being built along with commercial plazas, shopping zones and a multiplex. Authority officials said reputed hotel chains have shown interest in the region where new industrial complexes have also been planned ' at Kanksa near Durgapur and Jamuria near Asansol.

'Despite this growth, the residents have to depend on two subdivisional hospitals and the DSP Hospital for treatment. Serious cases have to be referred to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital and the complicated ones to Calcutta. People also travel to Mumbai or Chennai for specialised treatment,' said an official.

'If we are successful in setting up the medical city, people from neighbouring Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum and Jharkhand will benefit, besides Burdwan,' said Nigam.

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